As a black woman, I often find myself asking how race and gender have affected my life. Did the bartender just ignore me because he thinks I don't tip? Was I hired because there are no black women on staff? Will I come off as an "angry black woman" if I speak candidly about this controversial topic? Are these people racist? The list goes on. Presently, the question on my mind is this: All of my friends are getting married and I'm not. Why?
Statistics show that I am not the only black woman dealing with this situation. Black women between the ages of 25 and 29 are less likely to be married than other groups. There are many instances where this isn't the case, of course, but it is currently a reality for me. This is a reality for another group as well—Asian men are also less likely to be married than their female counterparts.
Black women and Asian men should start marrying each other in droves. Problem solved! Not really. That we continue to aspire to marriage—an institution invented purely for financial purposes—and look at people who are not married as if they have some sort of stain on their character is the real problem. That's the issue that needs to be widely discussed and studied by social scientists.
I am not a social scientist, but I do have Asian friends. Preston Chaunsumlit was identified by Gawker and New York magazine as a "normcore" icon recently, but he is also a brilliant observer of how race is portrayed in popular culture. He is the star of Model Files, a casting director, comedian, and self-professed "dick with opinions." He and I chatted about this subject over lunch. Read on to find out how a black woman and Asian man feel about marriage, race, and being the other.